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Profiting from the past : the relationship between history and the tourist industry in Tasmania, 1856-1972


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Young, FD 1995 , 'Profiting from the past : the relationship between history and the tourist industry in Tasmania, 1856-1972', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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This thesis traces the developing relationship between history and the tourist
industry in Tasmania from 1856 to 1972. Its title, Profiting from the Past, has two
meanings, both major themes of the work. The first meaning, the literal, implies that
the past may be treated as a commodity from which money may be made. The
second meaning, the metaphorical, implies that people may benefit from a
knowledge and understanding of what has gone before.
That Tasmania had a past was all too apparent to both locals and tourists in 1856,
the year in which the island was declared an independent colony-yet there was no
"historical tourism" as such. By 1972, the year when a newly-created government
department assumed control of the state's major historical sites, both Tasmania's
generalised "past" and its wealth of discrete historical attractions, many of them
"commodified", were as large a factor in luring tourists to the state as was its much
vaunted scenery.
Throughout the period in question, the manner in which Tasmania's past has been
sought by tourists, promoted to them and in some instances kept from them is
examined, and the benefits which they hoped to find in Tasmania's past are
analysed. This analysis is carried out in the light of categories of 'past-related
benefits' identified by David Lowenthal in The Past is a Foreign Country. The work of
the promoters, interpreters and exploiters of Tasmania's past is also considered. The
inquiry into the ideologies driving this group is conducted in the light of J H
Plumb's analysis in The Death of the Past.
The development of historical tourism is also described in relation to the growth of
Tasmania's tourist industry as a whole, to the development of Tasmanian
historiography and to the changing sensibilities of the Tasmanians themselves as
they struggled to come to terms with a problematic past, often from the standpoint
of an unsatisfactory present. The effect of "development" and the role of the
conservation movement are considered where these factors have influenced the
evolution of the "tourist-historical-landscape", and hence the tourist industry.
In every aspect of the selling of Tasmania's past, its material preservation,
interpretation and promotion, there has been both· an ideological and a commercial
element. This thesis concludes that in general the latter has overridden the former -
thus literal profit has determined the nature of metaphorical profit. The implications
this conclusion holds both for Tasmania's "heritage" and its "heritage industry" are
considered in a closing chapter.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Young, FD
Keywords: Tourism
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1995 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Library has additional copy on microfiche. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 1995. Includes bibliographical references

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